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The Magnet award is one of the most coveted and prestigious honors a hospital and nursing staff can achieve. It is given by The American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC), a subsidiary of the American Nurses Association. ANCC developed the Magnet program to recognize health care organizations that give the very best in nursing care and uphold traditions within the nursing profession.
Cook Children's Medical Center was awarded Magnet recognition for excellence in nursing in September 2006. The distinction was held by only 10 other free-standing children’s hospitals in the entire nation at the time of the designation.
"We have always believed the extraordinary level of care we deliver across our system is what distinguishes Cook Children's," said Nancy Cychol, president of Cook Children's Medical Center. "At the heart of all we do, you will always find the tremendous professionalism and compassion of our superior nursing staff."
In June 2008, Cook Children's hired Julie Withaeger, RN, MSN, RNC-NIC, to serve as a Magnet program director. Before transitioning into her new role, Withaeger served eight years as a registered nurse in Cook Children's neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) and was actively involved in the initial designation process as the Magnet champion for the NICU.
"Achieving Magnet status is not a final destination," said Withaeger. "We must continually strive to deliver quality patient care and improve patient outcomes. Maintaining that level of care is challenging, but the staff of Cook Children's meets and exceeds the challenge on a daily basis."
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